Using another author's work and calling it your own is called "plagiarism." Not only is it improper, it is illegal. Students caught for plagiarism can be severely reprimanded or even expelled from school. A plagiarized work, challenged by its author, could lead to legal consequences. While plagiarism may have been precipitated by ignorance or laziness, there is little defense if the guilty party is caught. It is important to know what it is and how to avoid it. Outlines are the framework upon which an essay, speech or research paper is built. Developing an outline on plagiarism should take the reader from discovering what it is to how not to plagiarize and what could happen to someone who does plagiarize.

Thesis Statement

Step 1

Key points are identified by Roman numerals.
Key points are identified by Roman numerals.

First, establish the purpose of your treatise by creating a thesis statement. In this case, the statement might be “What is plagiarism? How to detect it, how to avoid it, and the penalties for it.” As you write the outline, use the parts of your thesis statement as your headings, marked by Roman numerals.

Step 2

Define the word "plagiarism."
Define the word "plagiarism."

Write out the major points using Roman numerals I, II, III, IV and V. By the first number, write "What is plagiarism." Plagiarism is not merely the literal duplication of a piece of work. It can involve portions of an authors' work being used without crediting the source. Subheadings in this part of your outline could include the definition of plagiarism and descriptions of types of plagiarism. Explain that partially citing or simply mentioning the author's name is not enough to avoid plagiarism.

Step 3

Plagiarism can be found.
Plagiarism can be found.

Move to Roman numeral II. Title it "How to detect plagiarism." Use the subheadings to list the ways you can recognize if something is plagiarized. Methods include locating a copy of the original work to compare pieces of writing and using an online program designed to detect plagiarism.

Share that original sources can be found by plugging sections of the text into an online search engine or searching the author's name or title of the work that it came from. Online plagiarism detectors are plentiful. Articlechecker.com and duplichecker.com are two that can be used.

Step 4

Quote properly.  Cite all quotes.
Quote properly. Cite all quotes.

Citing an author's work is a proper way to avoid plagiarism. Using the Roman numeral III, start this part of your outline with the heading "How to avoid plagiarism." List subheadings, such as: A. Use your own words B. Cite all quotes.

Rewording another person's work, even if you reveal that your ideas came from the other author, is not enough. Explain that original ideas and unique interpretations must dominate the work. If it is a reworking of someone else's thoughts, the source must be named. Abundant use of citations can still put your writing in question. Be original. Cite sources.

There are many methods of citing sources, including the MLA method and the APA method. Explain the methods that can be used.

Step 5

Plagiarism can have serious consequences.
Plagiarism can have serious consequences.

Discuss the consequences of plagiarizing. Title Roman numeral IV "Penalties for plagiarism." Subheadings can include degrees of punishment that high schools, colleges and universities levy when a student plagiarizes. Also describe the legal consequences if the author of the original work finds out that it has been plagiarized. Include that, in the business world, the guilty party might lose his or her job and tarnish a professional reputation.

Step 6

End your paper with a recap of the original thesis.
End your paper with a recap of the original thesis.

Wrap it up with the description of a written conclusion, following the Roman numeral "V." The conclusion is a recap of the thesis statement, summarizing the information in your paper.